The regulator is one of the most essential pieces of diving equipment. It is a simple and reliable mechanism that reduces the high pressure from the air cylinder to a pressure equal to the ambient pressure and ensures that the diver receives the amount of air he requires.
To understand why one regulator has a lower breathing resistance than another, you need to know a few things about how a regulator works. The most important selection criterion is the breathing resistance.
The operation of the regulator
Modern regulators work according to a two-stage principle. The first stage (the part that attaches to the valve of the air cylinder) and the second stage (the part with the mouthpiece). The first stage reduces the pressure from the air cylinder to between 9 and 12 bar above the ambient pressure (also called the intermediate pressure). The second stage reduces this intermediate pressure to the ambient pressure.
- First stage - This is attached to the tap of the compressed air cylinder and reduces the pressure in the cylinder to a medium pressure.
- Second stage - This can be found at the end of the hose where the mouthpiece is attached. The second stage allows you to breathe comfortably because it ensures that theair you breathe is equal to the ambient pressure.
- Alternate Air Supply - This is your spare mouthpiece that you can use to give air to another diver should the need arise.
- Low pressure inflator for the buoyancy compensating jacket - This is connected to the first stage.
- Finally, the Manometer - This reads the pressure so you know how much air is left in your air cylinder.
What to look out for when buying
When buying the regulator, pay attention to the environment where you want to use it.
- It is important to know which type of connection (DIN or international) is used in the area where you will be diving. You want it to fit the valve of the cylinder.
- Next, figure out how many hoses you want to connect to your first stage, and then see if the first stage actually provides those connections in the right configuration (high pressure/low pressure).
- When you buy a regulator, always ask them to connect it to an air cylinder so you can experience how it breathes. The mouthpiece must be comfortable.
After each dive the regulator must be rinsed thoroughly to ensure that no water enters the first stage of the regulator. Before rinsing the regulator ALWAYS mount the dust cover or rinse the regulator while it is still mounted on the air cylinder and there is still pressure on the system. Thoroughly flush the mouthpiece of the regulator.
Never try to remove the first stage from the air cylinder while there is still pressure on the system; firstly, it will be difficult to loosen the turnbuckle and secondly, you can be sure that you will damage the O-ring.